Rumiñawi (Inca warrior)

Rumiñawi, born late 15th century in present-day Ecuador, died June 25, 1535, was a general during the Inca Civil War. After the death of Emperor Atahualpa, he led the resistance in 1533 against the Spanish in the northern part of the Inca Empire (modern-day Ecuador). According to tradition, he ordered the city's treasure to be hidden and the city burned to prevent looting by the Spaniards. Although captured and tortured, he never revealed the treasure. Since 1985, December 1 is celebrated as a day of commemoration of his acts.


Born in Pillaro in modern Tungurahua Province in Ecuador, his given name was Ati II Pillahuaso. Inca historians tend to believe that he was Atahualpa's half-brother, born from a native noble woman.

Later in life, after becoming an important warrior and military leader, he was called Rumiñawi (Kichwa rumi meaning stone, rock, ñawi meaning eye, face,[1] "stone eye", "stone face", "rock eye" or "rock face",[2]:269–270(Hispanicized spellings of his name include Rumiaoui, Ruminavi, Ruminagui, Rumiñagui, Rumiñahui.)

When Francisco Pizarro imprisoned Atahualpa and held him in the Ransom Room, Rumiñawi took forces to Cajamarca to deliver a huge amount of gold for his release.

After the Spaniards executed Atahualpa, Rumiñahui returned to Quito. He is believed to have ordered the Treasure of the Llanganatis thrown into a lake or buried in snow.[2]:270

Sebastián de Benalcázar headed to Quito, intent on any treasure he could recover. The forces of Rumiñawi and Benalcázar met at the Battle of Mount Chimborazo, where Rumiñawi was defeated. However, before the Spanish forces captured Quito, its treasures were secreted away.[3]:226

To prevent the Spanish soldiers from looting the city, Rumiñawi had ordered it to be burned. He also ordered the principal ladies of the temples who refused to flee, to be killed, to prevent their being captured and assaulted by the foreign soldiers.[2]:322–325 Rumiñahui was eventually captured by the Spanish, who tortured and killed him. But he never revealed the location of the treasure.[2]:390–393


  • In 1985 the Ecuadorian Congress made December 1st an annual day of remembrance for Rumiñawi, as an indigenous hero and defender of the Kingdom of Quito.
  • Rumiñahui's portrait was the prominent image on the front of the 1,000 Ecuadorian sucre note.


  1. ^ Kichwa Yachakukkunapa Shimiyuk Kamu (Ministry of Education, Ecuador)
  2. ^ a b c d Leon, P., 1998, The Discovery and Conquest of Peru, Chronicles of the New World Encounter, edited and translated by Cook and Cook, Durham: Duke University Press, ISBN 9780822321460
  3. ^ Prescott, W.H., 2011, The History of the Conquest of Peru, Publishing, ISBN 9781420941142
  • Moya Espinoza, Reynaldo. La conquista en Piura.